It is forever etched in my memory as though it happened just yesterday. We were stationed in Washington D.C. My husband was in the Air Force Honor Guard. I was a few doors down from our house, babysitting an infant whose father worked at the Pentagon, and whose mother was in the the Navy. He liked to be rocked to sleep, and while I rocked him, I had the TV on CNN, muted. Thankfully, the baby’s father was not in the section affected by the hit.
As it dawned on me that the New York skyline was burning, my first thought was “Why would they play action movie clips on CNN?” I laid the baby down in his crib, and turned the sound on. I watched the 2nd plane hit the 2nd tower, and tears began to stream down my face.
It wasn’t long after when I felt a shudder run through the ground. My husband, who had come home to change clothes between jobs, ran over to wear I was, and together, we saw smoke rising from across the river. We didn’t know what had been hit for a few more minutes, but not long after we found out it was the Pentagon, Levi was called back into work to be on call for patrols along the Potomac and on top of the dorm building.
Of course, both our families back home were very concerned for our safety, even though they knew Levi didn’t work at the Pentagon, and it took several more hours before we could call home and reassure our parents that we were well.
I will never forget the weeping, the horror-stricken faces, the mute agony etched in new lines on countenances blackened by ashes. I will never forget the jumpers in the Twin Towers. I will never forget watching the collapse of both buildings, and sobbing at the thought of the thousands of people just…gone. I will never forget the grief that broke the collective heart of our country, and moved us to action. I will never forget the men and women lining up to enlist in the services, desiring to be a part of whatever our country would do in response. I will never forget the American flags draped out of every window, and from every wall. I will never forget seeing my representatives singing “God Bless America” on the steps of the Capitol building at the top of their lungs.
I will never forget those who still have scars – physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual – because they lost someone, or gave of themselves to help.
I will never forget to thank the heroes of that day.
I will never forget the God who stretched out his hands and loved our nation 2000 years ago, and to whom we turned for answers in the days following 9/11. May we always turn to him, and be comforted.